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tonnage and poundage

Robert Cecil (1563—1612) politician and courtier


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Tudor sovereigns received lifetime parliamentary grants of customs duties called tonnage and poundage, but as inflation reduced the royal revenue they had recourse to impositions—additional prerogative levies on imports, first collected under Mary I. The Commons never accepted the validity of these non‐parliamentary levies, and they were a cause of constant friction with both James I and Charles I. They were finally declared illegal by the Tonnage and Poundage Act of 1641.

Subjects: British History.

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